Disciplinary Tensions in Studying LGBTQ Populations

In many ways, questions of how best to do research about LGBTQ people mirror broader questions about research: What counts as evidence? Is value-neutral research possible or even desirable given social inequities? What role does advocacy play in research? In addition to these common concerns, researchers must also address unique issues in a homophobic, transphobic, and erotophobic (i.e., sex-phobic) culture. Sexuality is generally considered a private matter that should not be discussed publicly. In addition, despite improved legal rights and recognition in recent years, LGBTQ people still experience discrimination in many public and private settings, and people who transgress widely accepted gender norms experience particularly oppressive treatment. Moreover, as intersectional analysis has demonstrated, gender and sexuality don’t exist in isolation. Rather, they interact in dynamic ...

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